Friends join forces to purchase grave marker for childhood friend

Mark Rountree
The Leavenworth Times
Shown is a photo of Dillard Tolbert when he was boy.

On May 2, 1968, Dillard Tolbert was killed when he was struck by a truck on his way home from school. He was 8 years old.

“We were little kids when this happened, trying to understand it. We didn’t know what to do,” said Father Bill McEvoy, pastor at St. Francis De Sales Church in Lansing and one of Tolbert’s childhood friends and classmates at Immaculate Conception School. “But now as adults, we can do something for Dillard. Even after all of these years, Dillard is a friend we have never forgotten.”

On a recent visit to Tolbert’s grave at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Lansing, McEvoy noticed that there was not a grave marker at the gravesite.

So he has organized an effort to remedy that.

McEvoy and other classmates have joined forces to solicit money for the purchase of a tombstone for Tolbert’s grave.

“We his friends want to raise fund to have a small granite memorial made and placed so that his grave will no longer be unmarked,” he said.

McEvoy said any funds left over after paying for the marker will be donated to Xavier Catholic School to be used for the religious education of second graders preparing for their first Holy Communion.

People who would like to donate can visit St.FrancisLansing.org and click on Dillard Tolbert Memorial.

The link will remain active until Sept. 21.